There are two distinct flavours of digital transformation – one because you have to; one because you want to.
Digital transformation in response to an existential threat emerging from sectoral disruption is a differently flavoured beast to digital transformation engineered to simply make things better.
The latter is very much the case for VicRoads. It’s not as though citizens can go elsewhere for the services it provides – but still VicRoads wants those services to be better and more efficiently delivered.
Babu Krishnamoorthy, Program Director for Digital Transformation, VicRoads explains; “We need to be better at our customer experience, we want to be unified in our customer experience process.
“We want to make it as seamless as possible when we interact with the customer. We need to be able to respond within a timely manner, and not have a scenario where we are constrained by our legacy systems. We want to avoid scenarios of our customers forced into following up on the status of their requests; instead we’d want to be able to offer self-serve capabilities,” he says.
While customer experience is a key focus, VicRoads knows that will only achieve the quality it seeks at the coal face if the back-office processes are streamlined and employees well supported.
Getting to that position required a rethink. Krishnamoorthy was mindful that there was much more to a successful transformation than just “bright and shiny” front ends. To ensure that the enterprise transformation would stick and be sustainable, it was important to plan from the ground up, exploring the processes that needed to be supported, where processes could be reformed, what technologies would provide foundations for the future.
He determined that VicRoads needed a platform that would deliver proper case management, workflow capability, as well as manage the interaction with customers, partners and service providers.
It also needed an holistic platform approach to replace the point solutions which had been deployed across the enterprise in the past – many written piecemeal in Lotus Notes, and still requiring extensive manual intervention to get things done.
“What we needed was a smarter way to operate,” says Krishnamoorthy.
“I look at is as though it’s like a technology iceberg. There’s a lot of capability that people see, that’s the bright shiny toy, but really that’s just the top of iceberg. In order to be able to deliver the great stuff that’s the top of the iceberg, there’s a fair bit of core capability that needs to be designed, developed, integrated and implemented, which is the bottom of the iceberg.
“It’s not the sexy stuff, but it’s the stuff that just needs to happen.”
What clearly needed to happen at VicRoads was a Customer Management System that could properly engage and manage customer interactions, tackle case management and handle workflow across all VicRoads’ various business units. A market assessment identified Dynamics 365 as the best business solution.
An initial pilot has deployed Dynamics 365 to assess and review medical patients and their fitness to drive. More business units will be progressively brought online through 2018, and at the same time the organisation is also transitioning across to Office 365.
VicRoads also plans to integrate Dynamics 365 with its web delivery platform featuring a transactional website with portal capabilities and payment gateways integrated with its website, with email and SMS notification.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to jump online and transact. We want to try and minimise the interactions that we have with customers at our customer service centre to when we genuinely need to have a face to face conversation. So, things like registration renewal, or short-term registration, or activities based on renewals that require payment, or purchasing certain things through online – we want to make that as seamless as possible,” says Krishnamoorthy.
It’s bearing fruit. Early trials of the system show that when people use the online site to interact with VicRoads, it has a fairly high percent adopting digital payments, notifications and eBilling.
What Krishnamoorthy understands well is that successful enterprise transformations require far more than a fancy digital overlay. Employees and customers are used to one way of working, they need to be brought on the transformation journey.
For some it’s an easy transition – others need more coaxing as the fitness to drive pilot has demonstrated.
“When you roll out 365, for the people who are relatively new to the organisation and people who are relatively new to fitness-to-drive assessments, we’ve found that that change and that transformation was relatively easy. They’re used to a web-based platform, they’re used to the logical way in which Dynamics 365 is structured and laid out, they’re used to how cases are managed and how we track SLAs within the platform.
“For those who are used to our incumbent system, that change has been a little bit harder. So, we’ve gone through a bit of a change challenge,” he says.
But it’s a challenge worth tackling because as Krishnamoorthy notes; “It sets us in a path where we’re able to manage that customer relationship better. Rather than being an activity that originated and initiated by the customer, we’re able to originate and initiate interactions back to the customer from a VicRoads perspective.”
Krishnamoorthy says; “My advice is think of the long-term and the investment that needs to be made in order to be able realise the benefit of digital, but once it’s there, the uptake is almost automatic. We’re seeing our customers just almost naturally gravitate towards online.”
The strategy to move off point solutions and take a more platform approach is also working well as many of the functions required by one VicRoads business unit or process are similar to those in another. “The change that we’ve seen from a technology perspective is to be able to leverage now a core platform to be able to deliver variants in this initiative, rather than continually going to market for a piecemeal solution for each initiative.
“That’s from a technology perspective. From a business perspective, what I’d expect to see is that once we’ve got a platform that we can use and an interaction mechanism that we’ve got with customers, we’ll see standardisation across the board. So, that there should be similarities that we’ll be able to have, and workflow processes that we’ll be able to create, that allows us to interact with customer in a more uniform way.”
For VicRoads it’s digital transformation that just does things better.